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Author Topic: Where to learn...?  (Read 13705 times)
PrecariousPosition
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« on: December 02, 2008, 04:26:50 PM »
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Hi,

I'm part of the 'new generation' of photographers who have grown up with digital cameras and never really dealt with film photography. My high school photography classes were all digital and I've only ever owned one film camera (when I was about six). I also have had a lot of trouble finding any sort of a 'how-to' guide on the internet for developing film or anything of that nature. I'm applying for a very competetive photography course in the spring and one of the basic requirments is that I am at least familiar, if not compotent with the development process of film. So I have about four months to learn all about film and I'm wondering if anyone here has any idea of where to start? There are no local classes or schools so that idea is out, I have to go it alone, so to speak.

I don't even have a camera at this point so if we could start from there and go forward that'd be great. Any pointers or help with anything realated would be very much appreciated.  


Thanks in advance,
Trevor


P.S. I currently shoot with a Nikon D300 and plenty of Nikon lenses so a camera that goes well with that combo and is freely avalible on eBay would be great
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2008, 06:55:41 PM »
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Quote from: PrecariousPosition
There are no local classes or schools so that idea is out, I have to go it alone, so to speak.

If you can tell us roughly where you live, someone might be able to suggest alternate sources (e.g.,workshops, etc).

Best,

Paul
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 06:56:23 PM by PaulS » Logged

PrecariousPosition
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2008, 07:00:07 PM »
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If you can tell us roughly where you live, someone might be able to suggest alternate sources (e.g.,workshops, etc).

Best,

Paul


I probably should have included that to start with... I live in Chilliwack, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (to be specific). There are programs downtown that still teach film workshops but travelling downtown eight or ten times isn't really possible sadly.

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 12:14:22 AM »
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Quote from: PrecariousPosition
I probably should have included that to start with... I live in Chilliwack, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (to be specific). There are programs downtown that still teach film workshops but travelling downtown eight or ten times isn't really possible sadly.

My son lives in Burnaby and he works in the film industry.  I'll see if he has any suggestions for you.

Mike.

P.S.  It depends on what level of competence you need.  You can gain a good understanding of the process from books or the 'net, but that won't give you hands on experience.  If you need that, perhaps you could advertise in town or check out the local camera club (if there is one) and see if anyone in Chilliwack, Hope or even Abbotsford still has a darkroom.  Also, it depends on whether you're talking B&W or colour, film processing, printing or both.  B&W developing is pretty simple in concept, but E-6 for example takes ten steps, 37 minutes, and +/- about 1/2 degree F in the water bath, if I remember correctly.  It's been a long time since I've done that.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 12:22:53 AM by wolfnowl » Logged

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ChrisJR
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 03:15:21 PM »
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Quote from: PrecariousPosition
Hi,

I'm part of the 'new generation' of photographers who have grown up with digital cameras and never really dealt with film photography. My high school photography classes were all digital and I've only ever owned one film camera (when I was about six). I also have had a lot of trouble finding any sort of a 'how-to' guide on the internet for developing film or anything of that nature. I'm applying for a very competetive photography course in the spring and one of the basic requirments is that I am at least familiar, if not compotent with the development process of film. So I have about four months to learn all about film and I'm wondering if anyone here has any idea of where to start? There are no local classes or schools so that idea is out, I have to go it alone, so to speak.

I don't even have a camera at this point so if we could start from there and go forward that'd be great. Any pointers or help with anything realated would be very much appreciated.  


Thanks in advance,
Trevor


P.S. I currently shoot with a Nikon D300 and plenty of Nikon lenses so a camera that goes well with that combo and is freely avalible on eBay would be great
If you're willing to buy a book I can't recommend the Darkroom Cookbook in the following link enough.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=s...amp;x=0&y=0 (I had the original version, not the updated one)

When I went to college just a couple of years ago I had no experience in the darkroom and the teaching at my college was useless. I would say I'm pretty competent in the darkroom now (don't have as much time to do things in the darkroom as I would like now) and learnt most of what I know from this book.

Hope this helps.

Chris.
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situgrrl
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2008, 04:49:34 PM »
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PrecariousPosition
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 01:34:47 PM »
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Awsome. I'll most likely be picking up a book or two so I'll add that one to my list. It's actually surprising how difficult it is to find basic developing information on the internet.

I need to be quite competent with developing and printing in general. As I don't know much about the process I can't really say just how competent but I imagine they expect me to meet or surpass a senior high school students level of ability. But again not knowing the process I really don't know how competent that is.

It's all sort of strange actually as this is a very high end commercial photography course (two year course) and I'm not sure why we need to know anything about film other than how to scan it. If it were an art course I could understand but not for commercial photography. Either way I'm happy to learn and probably would have done it in my own time anyhow.

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daleeman
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 01:50:48 PM »
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Quote from: PrecariousPosition
Awsome. I'll most likely be picking up a book or two so I'll add that one to my list. It's actually surprising how difficult it is to find basic developing information on the internet.

I need to be quite competent with developing and printing in general. As I don't know much about the process I can't really say just how competent but I imagine they expect me to meet or surpass a senior high school students level of ability. But again not knowing the process I really don't know how competent that is.

It's all sort of strange actually as this is a very high end commercial photography course (two year course) and I'm not sure why we need to know anything about film other than how to scan it. If it were an art course I could understand but not for commercial photography. Either way I'm happy to learn and probably would have done it in my own time anyhow.
Hi, just looked in on the thread and have to say Far-Out. Glad to hear you have a desire to learn film. Silver Rules. I was one that started silver and has spent a lot of energy in digital since 2002. One thing I can offer as a positive there is I have found new energy in my silver based photography now that I have spent some time in digital. I can only image the perplexing shift you must be facing rather fearlessly.

One thing to note is format and type of camera you need to use. I noted you may be doing some commercial work, classes and such. I’d point you at the medium format world. Having a 645, or 6x6 neg gives you some satisfaction of looking directly at the film and really having enough real-estate to see what you shot before printing it. 35mm is good too, but I love 120 film… at $ 3.50 (US) a roll of neg film or more, it can be expensive. But you can use your digital as a proofing device for exposure and such before pulling out your film camera.

Something else you will probably notice is each shot will mean more to you. Waiting for the moment, composition, a 6th sense watching clouds roll over the sky shifting exposure and color temp.  Golden moments, cut down on post editing decisions.

I grew up with good film cameras but never owned the ones I wanted, like a M2 Leica rangefinder, a Hasselblad, or a 4x5 field camera. Now with film cameras almost dumped on the market they can be pennies on the dollar.

Keep your thread up. Look at local camera clubs and go up to people over say… 35, and ask them if they do film. Ask a lot of questions, get some deep pockets too.
Lee
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:53:01 PM by daleeman » Logged
PrecariousPosition
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 02:36:36 PM »
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I can only image the perplexing shift you must be facing rather fearlessly.


Haha. Well it's certainly a shift. I've been shooting with DSLR's for the last three years (I'm not quite twenty-one) and before that I had a Sony Cybershot for about six months. So I started late in the game to begin with. Never really had much interest in it until I was eighteen (took one class last semester before I graduated). So if learning digital in three years wasn't enough now I'm being thrust in to a whole other world of photography and have less then six months to learn. It should be interesting.


Precarious Photography


My website, just in case anyone was wondering what I'm currently capable of.
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gr82bart
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 06:20:13 AM »
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So I have about four months to learn all about film and I'm wondering if anyone here has any idea of where to start?
Try http://www.APUG.org to start.

I don't know of any small art based orgs in your area that offer film courses. Those are indeed far and few between. The Darkroom Cookbook is a great book as recommended earlier. So are the classic trio from Ansel Adams: The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. Pretty sure you can get that from Indigo. Plus a host of other great books one can get on the cheap used.

Best of luck.

Regards, Art.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 06:22:33 AM by gr82bart » Logged

Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com or my online portfolios at APUG and Model Mayhem
daleeman
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2008, 05:08:57 PM »
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I wondered if you have located a darkroom or at least picked up on a camera yet?
Lee
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PrecariousPosition
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2008, 11:27:41 PM »
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Quote from: daleeman
I wondered if you have located a darkroom or at least picked up on a camera yet?
Lee


I have in fact just purchased an F65 from ebay (for $55 canadian after tax and shipping). A good start hopefully, though if I enjoy working with film I'd like to pick up a medium format system in the future.

As far as locating a darkroom, that's proving to be rather difficult. I have contacted the local camera club and they are being very helpful but only two of their members have darkrooms and the chances are slim that either of them will have the time to give me a hand. If I do have to go it alone one of the members here has been nice enough to volunteer to walk me through the process. Hopefully one way or another I'll learn what I need to learn over the next few months.

I'll sure I'll be around and asking questions now and then so I'll make sure to keep you updated on my progress   The program I'm trying to get into apparently gets 300 applications a year and only has 30 spots so I've got lots of work to do if I want to give myself the best chance to be accepted.

Cheers,
Trevor
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neile
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2008, 12:30:08 AM »
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Trevor,

If you feel like making a field trip you could come across the border to Seattle for a weekend. PCNW (www.pcnw.org) offers an Introduction to Film Photography class that takes place on Saturday Jan 17th and shows you how to process film and print in a darkroom. Gina's a great teacher too: I took this workshop about a year and a half ago and it got me totally hooked.

Neil
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Neil Enns
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dalethorn
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2008, 09:02:07 PM »
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I set up a darkroom in my apartment very cheaply.  I used a room with no windows for the film loading, although you could use a body covering made for that purpose.  For the printing, I used an exterior room and covered the windows with black plastic, and worked at night.  I found someone in retail who knew exactly what I needed for cheap, and got an enlarger, trays, film loaders, thermometer, chemicals, paper in two or three contrasts (for B&W).

Of course, color is a whole different matter.  That process is highly automated compared to B&W, and I don't know why anyone would want to develop color at home unless they were setting up a very specialized lab to do things that the available commercial labs don't do.
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neile
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2008, 09:40:19 PM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Of course, color is a whole different matter.  That process is highly automated compared to B&W, and I don't know why anyone would want to develop color at home unless they were setting up a very specialized lab to do things that the available commercial labs don't do.

Processing colour film is pretty much a non-starter due to the chemicals involved. Although pro colour processing labs are a dying breed you can still get excellent quality results if you find a place with well-maintained machines. My local Costco, believe it or not, still processes plenty of colour film and keeps their machine in good working order with fresh chemistry. Oh, and processing a roll costs $1.70. Hard to beat that

Colour printing is a lot of fun, but can be very painful to do at home. I'm fortunate to have PCNW nearby which has a dedicated colour darkroom facility on the second floor, including a dry-to-dry processing machine.

Neil
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Neil Enns
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daleeman
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2008, 07:01:15 AM »
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Here is one fun idea to help spur on the film idea. Consider some alternative processes to start with. They are fun and the results are great. go over to freestylephoto.biz, hope I have the url correct and get some cyanotype material. (Creates Blue images) You will also need some inkjet or laser "overhead Transparency Material" from your local office supply shop.

Use your digital camera and pick a great shot, transform it to a B&W image in the computer with photoshop, reverse it to a negative, print it on the transparency material. You then in a dim room use a foam brush to coat good quality paper with the cyanotype material, just paint it on, let it dry, but use it the same day or so. Best to use a contact print out frame, but you can use a regular picture frame and put the paper under the negative, close the frame and expose to sun light for 4 minutes or so. Times vary per subject etc. Bring it inside and under dim light as well run luke warm water over it. It washes away anything that is not a picture. I then use hydrogen peroxide, 1:1 or less to pour over the photo and it really pops out then.

This might really put some fire into you about the getting into the film and darkroom idea. You can print on paper, rubber, wood and Tshirts too.

"More info is at: http://www.alternativephotography.com/

I love this kind of stuff, bet you will too and then it all the more fun to do things like shoot medium format and use the negs directly over cyanotype too. Once you start, bet you just keep going.

One if the best ideas about going to film is, each image is a treasure, woth the time to work on it.

Lee
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 07:04:27 AM by daleeman » Logged
PrecariousPosition
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2009, 04:33:32 PM »
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Phew ok. Five weeks later.

I've shot a few rolls of Fuji Neopan 100 and 400 in my Nikon F65 (god awful camera in comparison to my D300) and I think I've found a darkroom finally. Although just to be difficult I'm going to try and develop some of the film at home I think. I've also ordered a junky, russian made twin reflex 120 LOMO 166 to mess around with. And I've got a few books on order as well, hopefully they get here soon ( The Darkroom Cookbook and the full Ansel Adams trilogy).

In the mean time. What does one need to process film? Obviously a light free enviroment and some chemicals are in order. I also think that it's a silver gelatin process? After that I'm pretty confused. Hopefully the books get here soon.

But am I correct that I can develop the film here at home and then transport the developed film to a location with a proper darkroom and enlargers and whatnot?

Lots of questions I know, as always any help is appreciated.


Cheers,
Trevor

P.S. some of your tips so far have been a great help (like using my digital cameras as light meters).
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2009, 12:45:14 AM »
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Hi There:

Yes, you will need a COMPLETELY dark space.  If you're not sure, go into it and wait there for a few minutes.  As your eyes adjust you will be able to tell if there are any pinpoints of light anywhere.  If you literally cannot see the hand in front of your face, you'll be okay.

Aside from chemicals you'll need a sink or tub with flowing water to wash out the chemicals.  You'll also need a film developing tank and one or more film spools.  There are steel ones and plastic ones - personally I prefer the steel ones but some people prefer the others.  Basically it's a spool that allows you to coil the film in a spiral so that the developing chemicals can work on it.   You'll need an old fashioned can opener to be able to open the film cartridges, and a thermometer, although temperature isn't quite a finicky with black and white film as it is with E-6 (+/- 1/2 deg).  And you'll need a line and some clothespins or film clips to hang the film to dry.  Some people also use film squeegees but you can scratch your film if you're not careful.  Oh, and a funnel to pour the chemicals back into their containers.

If you don't have access to a darkroom you can also use a changing bag, which is a light-tight bag with elasticized cuffs for your arms.  I still have a couple as they can be handy if you need to open your camera back for some reason.  No idea if you can even buy them anymore...

The hardest part is opening the film canister and loading the film on the spool as this must be done in complete darkness.  Once the film is in the developing tank and the lid is secured you can turn the lights on.  You might want to buy a roll of throwaway film and practice loading the film on the spool with the lights on until you can do it with your eyes closed.

There's probably more, but it's been a long time.  Once the film is dry you should cut it and put it into sleeves or put it into one continuous sleeve to protect it.  And yes, once you have the negatives, you can take them and the paper (in a light-tight box) to somewhere that has a darkroom with an enlarger for phase two.  That's a whole other process.

Mike.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 12:46:53 AM by wolfnowl » Logged

If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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